Just hours after the NHL announced the cancellation of the 2013 Winter Classic, the league appeared willing to make a concession to the "make whole" provision from its previous offer to the NHLPA in their ongoing labour dispute.
Hockey Night in Canada's Elliotte Friedman confirmed multiple reports on Friday night the NHL had shifted the cost of the provision from the players to the owners' side, which would be a significant move in collective bargaining talks.
But the players want to know more about the NHL’s alteration to the "make whole" provision before they get too excited. That’s why NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr are expected to meet up on Saturday in a private setting so that "they can focus on bargaining," according to a Canadian Press source, before a formal negotiating session is planned.
Daly and Fehr have been speaking informally by phone throughout the week.
The previous proposal made by the league involved players receiving deferred payments for any portion of their salary affected by an immediate drop in revenue share from 57 per cent to 50 per cent. However, the players would end up paying out of their own pockets in the long run, according to Friedman.
Last week, the NHL wiped out the entire schedule through Nov. 30. The league and the players' union haven't formally met since Oct. 18 in Toronto, after the league proposed a 50-50 revenue split. The NHLPA, in turn, made three counterproposals which were rejected.
A total of 326 regular-season games would be lost if the November slate can't be salvaged.